My name is Jecky, and I was born in a small city called Anand in India. It’s a vibrant place, famous for its colleges and universities, and it’s also known as the milk capital of India!
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a keen interest in learning how computers work, and this motivated me to start early and take a computer class when I began high school.
After I earned my bachelor’s degree in Computer Applications in India, I wanted to gain hands-on, practical experience, as well as an in-depth understanding of computer languages. This is what inspired me to apply for university abroad, particularly in the USA.
I remember jumping for joy when I got an acceptance letter to study a Master of Science in Computer Science at my dream university in New York City: Pace University.
It was the spring of 2014 when I arrived in the USA. My sister lived in New York so she came to pick me up from the airport, and I remember that as soon as I stepped outside I could see it was snowing. It was pretty magical!
My university was in Lower Manhattan (a hub for New York’s businesses and culture), and I couldn’t have been more excited! On the first day at university I met my graduate program co-ordinators and got my schedule for my classes. Seeing how helpful and understanding the people were meant that I knew at that very moment that I was in the right hands, and that I had chosen the right program.
Developing skills and seizing opportunities
I studied in the Graduate Global Pathways program at Pace University through Kaplan. I’ve always been an extrovert and that helped me to build connections from day one, with other international students as well as with faculty members.
I’m so thankful for Kaplan’s Pathways program as it gave me the self-confidence to network, which is an important part of staying at the top of my field of interest. I was able to break the ice and start a conversation with any random person, which was a big plus as talking to an employer at a job fair got me my first internship!
Pathways students had opportunities to join any of the clubs and organizations at Pace University, and this gave me a chance to talk to the leaders and members of various groups. I learned about different cultures (especially American culture), which helped me to fit in.
Furthermore, once I graduated from my pathway program, I became a peer advisor, which gave me opportunities to work as a peer mentor for international students, including tutoring classes and organizing events for international festivals on and off campus. This experience helped me to build my strengths and presented me with ways to connect with many young and experienced professionals.
Overcoming challenges and making memories
At the same time as studying my pathway program, I was also doing my major in Computer Science, and I had to take 10 courses and get a GPA (Grade Point Average) above 3.0 in order to get the degree.
I remember the first semester was so fast, and I had a lot on my plate; it was challenging to manage my schedule and juggle my pathway and academic courses. The only reason I was able to do it was because of my pathway program, which helped me with fitting in and using the correct English, writing emails, making presentations, overcoming stage fright, and lots more.
While there were challenges, I made some amazing memories too. My favorite moments were getting applauded for my presentations, writing a research paper, and getting an A in all of my courses.
I loved being a peer advisor too and helping the new international students when they arrived — I was awarded the International Student Liaison award for Pace University, and it’s an achievement I’m still really proud of.
I think that studying a pathway program brought out the sense of leadership that was within me. It gave me the opportunity to evaluate my qualities and weaknesses as an individual, and share my thoughts and my passions confidently.
It helped me manage each task and deal with difficulties, which is the most important aspect of how the “real world” works.
Starting a career and finding balance
After I graduated, I worked for Best Buy at their headquarters in Minneapolis. I learned a lot working there and it allowed me to get an idea of what I wanted from my next adventure.
I decided that I wanted to work for a small company. I want to have a great work-life balance, and the opportunity to grow professionally and get to a position where I’m my own boss.
I’m currently working as a Developer at Calibre LLC, which is a private consulting company in Washington, DC that works directly with clients to build their websites and apps, and fulfill their technical needs.
I’ve always wanted to be able to help people. I’m very interested in working for the healthcare industry; I want to build apps and create websites for the services that treat patients and individuals who need medical help.
I’ve worked as an intern for a non-profit healthcare organization which deals with arthritis patients, and I’ve stayed in touch with them so I can help out during my free time. I hope to inspire others to help as much as they can to make this world a better place.
Reflecting on studying abroad
I have had a wonderful journey experiencing all the ups and downs so far and I would advise anyone who wants to study abroad to have faith in themselves. Always remember that you can do it, and you will do it.
Pathway programs like Kaplan’s help you to prepare for life after university because they can help you gain confidence so that you’re able to network and, ultimately, progress in your career. It’s very important to be able to survive in this fast-paced world.
Studying abroad broadens cultural and professional knowledge, enhances valuable job opportunities, and builds up the necessary characteristics for success. Studying at a university in your home country may seem like the easy thing to do, but as the novelist Wendell Berry said: “Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.”
Students are the future, and they can bring worlds together. Studying abroad is the first step for them to become a global citizen who can analyze the world’s issues and make a difference.